Many people think that working out is just for those who want to lose a lot of weight or run a marathon. But the fact is as we get older our bodies can’t quite do things as well as they used to. We all start to find everyday tasks more difficult and can even become prone to injury. This is why functional fitness training could be the answer to improving your quality of life.
What Is Functional Fitness Training?
Functional fitness training is one of the hottest trends in the fitness industry right now. Depending on who you ask you will probably get a different definition. Those who love kettlebells will tell you something different to someone who is a crossfit addict.
You should think of it as a form of exercise that trains muscles to do every day activities. For example, you may bend down to pick something up on a daily basis, therefore, a squat is a functional fitness exercise.
Many people think of workouts as people doing 100 pull ups or huge men performing romanian deadlifts with the biggest weights you’ve ever seen. Now don’t get me wrong, this kind of fitness is great, but isn’t really for your average Alfie now is it? Not unless we are going to start competing in the hunger games!
Therefore, functional exercises tend to simulate activities you may do at work or home all of the time. They tend to work both your upper and lower body as well as your core. This makes this kind of training great for anyone. It is simply a way of staying fit for normal life.
Functional fitness can be difficult and hard work. But then again so can real life. Everyday I pick up my one year old daughter and carry her on my hip while attempting to carry her and her push chair down two flights of stairs. This is awkward and strenuous. Something simply lifting a barbell up and down will not help you with.
You can do functional fitness training both at home and at the gym. You can also attend functional fitness sessions like boot camps which will offer group training.
What are the Benefits of Functional Fitness Training.
The whole point of functional fitness exercises are to make everyday tasks simple. As we get older our bodies can no longer handle simple exercise like we could as children. Therefore, functional fitness is a workout that means the day to day living is a little easier and can improve your quality of life as well as reducing your risk of injury.
Typically standard weight training teaches your muscles to work isolated in an ideal posture. Functional exercises teach your muscles to work together in awkward positions your body may encounter daily.
You may have just bench pressed 200 pounds but that does not prepare you to lift your sleeping toddler out of his car seat without waking him while trying to hold the car door open with your leg. Functional exercises are designed to teach your body to perform activities you may come across anytime anywhere.
Functional fitness improves balance and stability, muscle strength. This can be very important in older adults to help maintain independence and reduce the risk of falls.
Functional fitness also uses numerous muscles and joints simultaneously. This offers a great workout as well as improving overall strength in muscles, joints and connective tissue.
Is Functional Fitness for Everyone?
Functional fitness is definitely something everyone should try, even at a beginner level. But anyone over the age of 40 who has not participated in fitness for a while should get the OK from their doctor before starting something new.
Everyone just starting functional fitness should begin with the basics. Only perform exercises with your own bodyweight. There a many people can’t control their own body weight as they do not have the balance or stability to do so.
They may find that they can use a machine at the gym easily as it is an isolated exercise. But given something like a squat on one leg and they can’t do it. Simply because their muscles haven’t been trained to work together.
So start off slow, leave the kettlebells at home for now! Build up your technique and strength and help improve your quality of life.